Friday, January 11, 2008
Asked about last weekend's Persian Gulf incident in which Iranian speed boats harassed U.S. warships, none of the presidential rivals found fault with U.S. naval commanders on the scene.
But several took the opportunity to stress their determination to take stronger steps against Iran in the future.
"I think one more step, you know, and they would have been introduced to those virgins that they're looking forward to seeing," said Thompson.
Huckabee said if it happened again, the Iranians "should be prepared to see the gates of Hell."
McCain, the only candidate with experience in the Navy, refused to second guess the actions of the commander of all the battle groups.
"I believe Iran represents a very serious threat," said Romney. He added he believes the incident was a calculated one to test U.S. defensive responses and was a "diversionary action ... It points out that we have in Iran a very troubled nation," he added.
Romney drew mixed boos and applause from the audience when he criticized Paul for saying the United States must avoid another war.
Romney said Paul had been reading "too many press releases by (Mahmoud) Ahmadinejad" the Iranian president.
"Make fun buddy," muttered a clearly irritated Paul.